Fastball

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With nearly 20 years of musical explorations and milestones under its belt, Fastball remains one of the most consistent and continuously celebrated rock bands on the road these days. After rising to prominence in 1996 with the debut disc Make Your Mama Proud, the Austin, Texas-based trio exploded into a household name come 1998’s breakthrough project All the Pain Money Can Buy, joining the likes of fellow artfully spun acts like The Wallflowers, Matthew Sweet, The Jayhawks, Cracker and the Ryan Adams-fronted Whiskeytown on the charts.



“At first the success felt weird because it happened so fast,” shares drummer Joey Shuffield. “We were playing constantly, sometimes multiple shows per day, but the big game changer for me was when we pulled up at a festival in Atlanta in our little van and parked alongside the Foo Fighters’ bus. We couldn’t really see the audience from backstage, but when we walked to the stage, there were about 20,000 people out there ready to hear all the day’s music. All of a sudden I realized it was going to be way bigger than I ever thought it was going to be and it was a huge lifting of the veil.”



Thanks in part to the chart-topping hit “The Way,” the top five tune “Out Of My Head” and the top twenty favorite “Fire Escape,” the record skyrocketed to platinum-plus sales in a mere six months, sending the guys on a whirlwind tour of the world. Along the way, Fastball scored a pair of coveted Grammy nominations, an MTV Music Award nomination and regular rotation on the late night talk show circuit (Conan, Letterman and Leno to name a few).



That momentum continued into the next decade, starting with 2000’s The Harsh Light of Day, which not only spawned the equally infectious single “You’re An Ocean,” but also a cavalcade of guest stars like the late great legend Billy Preston, Stray Cats singer Brian Setzer and former Wallflowers guitarist Michael Ward. Come 2002, Painting the Corners: The Best of Fastball summed up the gang’s vast accomplishments until that point, while also turning the page towards an entirely new critically acclaimed chapter.



Come 2004’s Keep Your Wig On, which was produced by Spoon collaborator Mike McCarthy and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, Fastball hit a true stride. The album boasted influences as diverse as the British Invasion to the power pop and roots rock worlds, in turn, expanding upon its radio-ready identity for some of its most astute songwriting to date.



By 2009, the trio turned in Little White Lies entirely on its own terms, which didn’t just earn the veterans the best reviews of their career, but also multiple appearances at the annual tastemakers’ haven South By Southwest. Between those recent tunes and a celebrated catalogue chock full of timeless rock n’ roll that always exudes a clever pop sensibility, Fastball’s future on the road is certainly poised to provide yet another storied chapter.
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By: 3rd & Lindsley Nashville

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